Doctors, parents concerned about rise in pediatric COVID-19 cases

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Posted at 9:52 AM, Dec 31, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As COVID-19 numbers spike nationwide, doctors say they're becoming increasingly concerned about the number of pediatric cases they're seeing. Many parents are also worried and trying to figure out how to protect their kids who can't yet get vaccinated.

Lexington mom Laurie Armstrong has three kids, and her youngest daughter isn't old enough to get vaccinated.

"While as far as I know, my four-year-old is healthy, I don't feel that's a guarantee this would be easy on her," Armstrong told LEX 18.

Pediatricians are warning parents like Armstrong to play it safe when it comes to their kids and the virus. That means masking up and vaccinating children who qualify, plus keeping kids away from vulnerable adults as much as possible.

"We have chosen to be much more cautious than other families, and we have put some things on hold and deferred some things," Armstrong said. "And I know not everyone can do that or is willing to do that."

Children are less likely than adults to get seriously sick or hospitalized with COVID-19, but doctors say that doesn't make them immune.

"Kids can get sick, but we have heard they do pretty well," said Dr. Katrina Hood at Pediatric and Adolescent Associates. "And most of the kids we have seen who test positive have congestion, a little bit of a cold."

"Yes, as a parent, it's nerve-wracking for the kid, but also then because they expose others," she said.

Dr. Hood also said they're witnessing the effects of an omicron surge at her office, testing about 400 kids in the last seven days. About 30 of those children have tested positive.

Nationwide, nearly 200,000 American kids tested positive last week, a 50% increase since the beginning of December.

Despite the surge, Armstrong said she's decided to send her youngest to in-person preschool next month.

"We've decided to let her go because developmentally, she needs it," she said. "At the same time, we know we're introducing a level of risk because even with masks, nothing is perfect."